Media coverage: The Guardian
The shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, has called for parliament to continue to sit and scrutinise government emergency powers to deal with coronavirus, as concerns about unchecked executive power in Australia grow.
The call on Wednesday comes as the bipartisan delegated legislation committee resolved to establish an inquiry into non-disallowable instruments including new Covid-19 public health orders, citing research by the legal expert Andrew Edgar that they are putting federal government actions beyond the reach of parliament.
The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties president, Nicholas Cowdery, has urged the commonwealth and NSW parliaments to resume before August and September, warning the current extended adjournments are “unacceptable and dangerous for democracy”.
Cowdery wrote to the federal and NSW governments and opposition, warning that the current adjournments of parliament were “unacceptable and dangerous for democracy”.
He cited the constitutional law expert Anne Twomey, from the University of Sydney, who has warned that “there will be very little parliamentary scrutiny of the government for nearly five months, a critical period during which extreme powers may be exercised”.
“Even the darkest days of the world wars did not force parliament to close for extended periods,” Cowdery said.
“NSWCCL believes Australia needs more democracy and accountability in these difficult months, not less.”